In the last few months, we’ve seen in the watch industry a revival of one key design trend: the integrated bracelet watch. It’s both incredibly exciting to see how each brand has interpreted the style of watch making. It’s also great to see how such a favorite style of watch design is exciting a new generation of collectors and watchmakers. Chopard, Lange, Oris, Moser and Bell & Ross have all introduced great successes on this design recently, among others.
The latest to adopt this trend is Hublot, which an hour earlier announced the Big Bang Integral, the brand’s first Big Bang with integrated bracelet. In CEO Ricardo Guadalupe’s words, it’s “a redesigned case for a different clientele. The Big Bang Integral and its integrated architecture have propelled this model into a whole new universe.”
Our Initial Thoughts
The construction of an integrated bracelet watch incorporates numerous elements of design, most notably integrated lugs with a fixed middle link on the bracelet. The three-link bracelet in the Big Bang Integral has edges that remind us of the case’s chronograph pushers, and alternating polished and satin-finished surfaces.
2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the Big Bang model, which makes it one of Hublot’s greatest icons and while it’s evolved over the years and gained a UNICO movement, the new Integral recalls elements of the original Hublot Big Bang. One key difference: the resin inserts of the watch are gone, and the case and bracelet are all made from a single material – titanium, ceramic or King Gold.
It may appear like Hublot is following on the success of its peers, but it’s clear from the design that this has been sometime in the works. And with CEO Ricardo Guadalupe’s quote that this is designed to cater to a new audience, it’s obvious Hublot wants to broaden its demographic to a new, design-oriented consumer that blends leisure with professional life.
The watches are equipped with a new version of the HUB 1280 caliber. It’s a horizontal double clutch chronograph, with a column wheel visible on the dial side. A 72-hour power reserve and flat winding system, plus a design that shows off the movement, make it a strong and impressive movement. There are four patents on the movement: ball bearing adjustments on the chrono friction system; oscillating seconds clutch; index-assembly with fine adjustment and ratchet retaining system running on a one-way gear train. It’s a fascinating construction for a chronograph.
We’ll have a more in-depth analysis soon, but meanwhile, suffice it to say that we’re looking forward to discovering the ceramic model, which is definitely something powerfully new to Hublot.